As we start getting into the holiday season, the releases of big name games are ratcheting up as they do every year, which also means some major soundtracks are going to accompany these games. October offered a lot of quality music, most of it courtesy of the big budget stuff, but on any given month, if you dig deep enough, you can find music for anyone. And we’re going to look over some of the best offerings.
The Lord of the Rings as a property is no stranger to quality music. Howard Shore’s scores for the Peter Jackson trilogy represent three of the best film scores ever made. So it’s no surprise that Monolith’s latest LOTR game has an exceptional soundtrack. Coming from Garry Schyman – best known for his incredible work on the Bioshock games, and the first Middle-Earth title – provides another top quality release in an already impressive portfolio. Capturing the general epicness, alongside the lighter beauty of Shore’s scores, Shadow of War delivers an absolutely stunning soundtrack.
Assassin’s Creed 2 was arguably the high point for many – or even most – elements of Ubisoft’s pseudo-historical series about the Templar’s and Assassins. Until Austin Wintory’s score for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, this was true of the music as well. Luckily, though, the uptick in quality that Origins provides players is not tied to simply the gameplay, as Sarah Schachner’s score for the Egyptian-set title is comparable in quality –but wildly different in sound – to the previous entry in the series. The main theme in particular is one of the most interesting we’ve heard in some time.
Mick Gordon’s been contributing music to Bethesda titles for some time now – most notably with 2016’s DOOM – and the music provided is always of quality and often provides a major boost to Bethesda’s slate of always impressive releases. Wolfenstein II is no exception, as the score again is phenomenal, but the standout from the first title was really the Nazi-fied versions of pop songs, that mimicked bands through the decades, such as The Monkees, The Beatles, and a few more. The game came up with how those bands might have sounded had they risen under the supervision of the Reich. These songs make a return as well, but near as we could tell, there’s only one new song in this style. But the game's primary score is a knockout nonetheless.
Yet another title this month courtesy of Bethesda, Tango Gameworks' horror sequel by all counts seems to be a greatly improved game on all fronts. Horror games generally have a very specific sound. Usually you can expect dissonant, nerve-fraying sounds and a generally unsettling feel brought on by the music. And while The Evil Within 2 isn’t entirely devoid of this, composer Masatoshi Yanagi works some other elements into the title’s fantastic music. A lot of the music evokes a feeling of forlornness and melancholy more so than outright dread, which gives much of the title’s music a striking beauty.
This Humble Bundle published platformer is completely at odds with the sound and feel of the other standout soundtracks of the month, but doesn’t mean the music is any less good. Courtesy of Pascal Michael Stiefel, the upbeat music meshes a cosmic sound that wouldn’t be out of place in Buzz Lightyear: Star Command with the absolutely delightful style of music that accompanied 3D platformers in their heyday. Rather than feeling like a throwback to an era gone by, however, the title’s music is just absolutely infectious, and it makes it hard to stop listening to it even outside the game.
As we continue diving deeper into the holiday season, there’s naturally going be more great music on the way, but October already offered an incredible slate of music. Anything you’d have liked to see mentioned? Give us a shout in the comments.